On new wheels: Army to replace Maruti Gypsy with Tata Safari Storme

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From 3,200 vehicles initially, the order could rise 10-fold in the near term, says Tata Motors V-P

New Delhi, December 23

Tata Safari Storme GS800 4x4 will soon replace the decades-old fleet of Maruti Gypsys that the Army uses now. The deal is expected to be signed in the next couple of months.

“The Army will replace its iconic Maruti Gypsy fleet with Tata Safari Storme for an initial order of about 3,200 vehicles, which could increase 10-fold in the coming years,” Vernon Noronha, Vice-President, Defence Business, Tata Motors, said here on Friday.

He said the Army felt the need for a sturdier and reliable SUV with additional safety features and more power running on diesel, a more readily available fuel.

“We hope to sign the contract once the Christmas holidays are over… It may be in the next couple of weeks,” Noronha added.

He also said although the initial order is for around 3,200 vehicles, the company is expecting a potential order of 35,000 units in the near future.

BSF order

Meanwhile, the $42 billion firm has also bagged a deal to deliver Tata Xenon 4x4 vehicles to the Border Security Force (BSF) to be used for patrolling the borders, once again replacing the Maruti Gypsy.

TML received order for over 500 Xenon pick-up troop carriers from the Armed Forces, including 366 units from the BSF, which has been delivered.

The Gypsy is being replaced by Tata Xenon 4x4 in a phased manner and the first replacement has already commenced in Rajasthan.

“The old petrol vehicles are being replaced by diesel vehicles to cut down expenses and to strengthen the security forces,” Noronha said.

Unlike the Gypsys, the Xenons come with airbags and air-conditioning.

Infantry combat vehicle

The company is now eyeing the Defence Ministry’s $8 billion Future Infantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) programme. For this, the company has also signed a strategic agreement with Bharat Forge and General Dynamics Land Systems of the US.

Under the FICV programme, companies have been asked to introduce the latest technologies by partnering with foreign firms. The plan is to replace existing Russian BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles.

Published on December 23, 2016

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